Sep 12, 2009

Many a little makes a mickle

Japanese proverb by direct translation is “Stacking dust will become a mountain”.
Specially in Japanese manufactures companies, this proverb and mind is wide spread, because “Kaizen” type activities needs this mentality. However it is awful they always believe this method is right even when they face to new world and need to take the risks to break it. This method can fit only some target is already exit and they need fill the gap.

Here is original manga in Japanese.

Aug 5, 2009

Mr. Rainbow colors

In Japan, the number of colors in rainbow is seven.
Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and purple.

Here is original manga in Japanese.

Jul 5, 2009

Mt. Organization

We have expression of “ Oyama no taishou (the boss of the mountain) ” in Japanese. This sentence includes the nuance of despising to the people who is the top of the small organization in the small world with the power to the only the people.
Even so, there are many people who want to be the boss of the small mountain and the others want to be part of the mountain.
We also have different proverb “Keiko Gyugo( The mouth of chicken is better than the tale (or hip) of the cow. = Better be the head of a dog than the tail of a lion. )”. However, the small mountain in the company doesn’t allow them to have freedom like the mouth of chicken.

Here is original manga in Japanese.

Jun 6, 2009

blame others for everything

The amenability is virtue in traditional Japanese culture. That is still alive in the world of Salaryman. That leads them not think anything by themselves and will start to blame others for everything.

Here is the original manga in Japanese.

May 30, 2009

how to grow

“Bonsai” is one of Japanese traditional culture to
make the art of aesthetic miniaturization of trees and so on.
In the typical case, old Japanese men have hobby to make Bonsai.

When I was in Silicon Valley, I saw American style Bonsai several time. All of them is very big comparing to Japanese one. In the case of Japanese one, one of the important factor for Bonsai is how to make it small.

Here is original Japanese manga.

May 21, 2009

Responsibility in the firm

Many Japanese salaryman respect the internal company order more than the outside change.

I guess the reason for this is that Japanese company has used the lifetime employment historically. So they became to be just interested in only the company while they worked for only one company long time.

I am afraid it is difficult for them to react correctly against the global big economy change. Just too slow.

Here is the original manga in Japanese.

May 13, 2009

The masters of the reason for the impossible

I often face this kind of situation.
Many smart Japanese salaryman makes effort with spending a lot of time to create the perfect reason why they can not do. The fundamental reason why there are many such kind people in Japan is Japanese culture does not respects the people who challenge risk. Naturally they want to be just stable without challenge and with the skill to create the reason for the impossible.

Here is the original Japanese manga.

May 4, 2009

domestic demand expansion

Since the current global recession happened, many so-called intellectuals in Japan say “We should expand the domestic demand and keep employment under the current recession.” It is very strange, because the big industry in Japan is the manufactures which already expanded their business to worldwide since long time ago.

On the other hand, even in the big Japanese manufacture companies, the population of the people who are creating just “the in-company demand expansion”, that is only for the internal, has increased. Nothing to compete to the outside competitors can be created by these. (It is obvious, though…)

For example,

- the pre-pre-pre-meeting for internal negotiation
(=eternal Nemawahi)
- the people who want to know many things even they are not related
- the imposition of who should have budget between divisions

I wonder this trend is in only Japan(?).

Here is the original manga in Japanese.

Apr 22, 2009


In Japanese big company, tones of employees are assigned to make the rules, like lately ISMS (Information Security Management System), EMS (Environment Management System), J-SOX ( Japanese SOX act), and so on.
Of course, the rule is important and necessity. However, once they are assigned to make the rules, to make rules becomes the purpose. They don’t care about those rules may disturb the others job to do business. They are interested in how those rules are strict and no inconsistency just logically.
This is big trend which progress steadily in Japanese company, and it makes them weaker to fight with outside competitor. Some Japanese are skeptical maybe it is conspiracy by USA and Europe, because many rule has started from USA and Europe like SOX.

Here is original manga in Japanese.

Apr 14, 2009

fork in the road

In this global recession, unfortunately many Japanese company is type B, which they intend to do same thing as before to get stable. But the world has changed. Just stability can not help the company. It is obvious, but they want not to see it unconsciously. Maybe because Japanese economy has grown by stable quality of the products as just manufacturer.

Here is original manga in Japanese.

Apr 11, 2009

solid “Hansei” and solid plan

“Hansei” is one of Japanese culture which maybe is difficult to understand for non Japanese. ( no good direct translation in English)

If I am not afraid you may misunderstand, “Hansei” in Salaryman world is usually to just pretend “ I was wrong”, because real “Hansei” should be done in only each individual mind. The other is satisfied to hear this. (I don’t understand, though).

The difference between “Hansei” and “Review” is “Hansei” includes “regret” “I am sorry” or ”I am wrong, please forgive me”, such nuance.

“Hansei” tends to create the backward-looking posture and easily to prevent employee from making the positive new aggressive plan for future. The reason why it takes long time to make the plan is they are very afraid they need to make Hansei after their execution.

“Nemawashi” is one of Japanese business culture in the 4th frame, . “Nemawashi” is the consensus-building process before official meeting. Generally speaking, Japanese is weak to mention their opinion in many people like official meeting, even he/she is leader to have responsibility in the meeting. Therefore Nemawashi is necessity to them before the official meeting to make them mention their opinion. Without Nemawashi, sometimes it is difficult to get the approval in the official meeting because they who have responsibility to decide may feel frustration not to ask their honest question and finally they can not reach the well understand tragically.

Here is original manga in Japanese.

Apr 5, 2009

accumulation of experience

According to my five years experience in Silicon Valley, I learned lot of things and I recognized my original thinking is in Silicon Valley way.

One of that is specially about the experience of the failure. In Silicon Valley, many venture funders can get the new investment by the venture capitals because of their previous fail experience. They can challenge new things by experience even that was fail.
However, many Japanese believe it is very difficult to challenge new thing once they failed something before. Therefore, many people does not want to challenge new things. They are creating the beautiful reason by accumulating experience as the salaryman why they don’t want to do any new things.

Here is original manga in Japanese.

Mar 28, 2009

Power to move

The current global recession is very good chance to change the bureaucratic asset in special. But many Japanese company mentality is just to follow the competitors.
Maybe the reason why the Japanese company want to follow the others is Japanese respects “Wa (spirit of harmony)” more than the uniqueness.

Here is original Japanese manga.

Mar 23, 2009


“Visualization” is also one of buzz word in Japan recently.
Of course, “Visualization” is the important activity for any business improvement as basic, but too much. Some people believe any kind of problem can be solved by “Visualization”. Specially, in case of the new thing, which has many things including the target and the method has not fixed yet, we can not create everything by “Visualization”. (It is obvious, though..)
Historically, Japan economy has grown by “Kaizen” long time, it led this kind of mind.

Here is the original manga in Japanese.

Mar 20, 2009

Management by objectives

“The management by objectives” has been popular in Japanese big company since several years ago. However, this system does not fit to Japanese culture. So the pro forma management has spread. In many case, the object is just to evaluate, the managers want to set up the item which is only easy to measure. They spend very long time to set up the target and to evaluate the results. Sometimes it seems just the waste time.

Used to be, the Japanese management style gave the autonomy space for every employee instead of defining their clear mission. The employees need to think by themselves. That is why everyone thought wide items even those are beyond or outside their job. It was one of traditional Japanese company’s strength, such as QC ( quality circle). Because of the adoption of the management by objectives, Japan lost many things and became weak.

Here is original Japanese manga.

Mar 16, 2009

Logical discussion

Generally speaking, Japanese is not so good at logical discussion. Compared to before, it is getting better, though. One of the reason why Japanese skill on logical discussion is weaker than American is how much the training for debating in school age was. Recently, some school in Japan has started to have the debate class.
The traditional Japanese culture says “Silence is golden”. This is also one of the barriers to level up for the logical discussion.

Here is original manga in Japanese.

Mar 14, 2009

stock market collapse

The current global recession impact Japanese economy too.
It might be good turning point to rethink the direction for the future of human being.

Here is original manga in Japanese version. (Oct. 12. ‘2008)

Mar 11, 2009


Compared to Silicon Valley, Japanese manufacturing company is very narrow diversity, almost only Japanese in Japan and very few female manager. Maybe that is why the pattern of thinking is also narrow. That used to be good when Japan aimed to get highest quality of hardware product in the world (no fluctuation quality) . However that era can not last forever. Diversity is one of most important factor to create new world.

Here is original Japanese manga.

Mar 7, 2009


Many people often use the word ”responsibility” in Japanese big company, but the meaning of “responsibility” is vague. Specially when someone failed to achieve the committed responsibility, almost nothing happen. No firing, no demotion. Just many complain.
One of the reason such vague situation in Japan, I guess, the job assignment is usually with only the responsibility but without the authority about the condition such as human resource, budget and priority of the results.

Original manga in Japanese is Here.

Mar 1, 2009

Monkeys supposed to stand on their own two feet

"Select a big tree for your shelter" or "If you need shelter, choose a big tree” is Japanese proverb ("Yoraba Taijyu no Kage"). Many Japanese originally has the mentality like this, specially it becomes stronger in this recession time. It is opposite mentality to Silicon Valley where every one has mentality of autonomy and self-sustainability. The big trees, which are big company employee or civil office, try to keep their established interest, and the other people who might used to be more independent want to become the part of the big trees. They fight each other. I always wish more Japanese become to be more autonomy.

The original Japanese manga is here.

* Kevin, thank you very much for English support and check.

Feb 27, 2009

People who make “emperor who had no clothes on”

It happens often in case of bureaucratic big enterprise in recent Japan.
Many people recognize very important problem, but no one want to open their mouths. I point out it and try to motivate them to communicate smoothly, but it is difficult. Sometimes they push me out to the category as “strange man”. Boy…

Original Japanese manga is Here.

Feb 22, 2009

Feeling we are going ahead

In Japan, around Tokyo area in special, it is terrible crowded situation in train in commuting time. Not only inside of train, but also train cargoes themselves. Too many train in the railroad occur train jam, so the speed of train is very slow. It is mentally bad. In case of Disney Land, they have good method to reduce the stress of the presents who make line to wait to enter. They expand the length of aisle to wait so that the presents can move and walk instead of just stopping to wait.
This “Feeling we are going ahead” is important for the daily business too. Specially, for the job like “Planning” which need long time to achieve final goal.

Original Japanese version:Here